By Brian Hancock
Well another day, another donut, as the saying goes. More to the point, another windless area and some sloppy seas for the competitors racing the McIntyre Ocean Globe Race. While the leaders, well the bigger boats more to the point, are finding fresh breeze in the South Atlantic, the rest of the fleet is hanging tough in the doldrums or trying to find a fickle bit of breeze to scoot them over the equator.
Triana and L’Esprit d’équipe are not that far off taking that bump into the Southern Hemisphere. Last look at the Yellow Brick tracker, they should knock it off in the next couple of days. I am old enough to remember when the Yellow Pages were around – long before google for the rest of you. Yellow Brick is so much better.
Now I was almost a good student at math(s) when I was at school but this I do remember. One degree of latitude is 69 miles, so when I look at the boats positions on the tracker I see Triana at 02-20 degrees north – you do the math, and L’Esprit d’équipe at 02-13.5N you know that it’s a close race. But neither boat is moving that fast, well relatively speaking. At least they both seem to be through the doldrums and into some kind of fresh breeze.
I was interested to read the report from Maiden today. They crossed the equator on Sunday morning and are into the Southern Hemisphere and it provided good exercise in trying to understand the difference between men and women. I am not psychiatrist but here you go.
Now men, as I mentioned yesterday, those that have not yet crossed the equator, get themselves covered in gunk and have to sit there in humiliation for an hour or so until King Neptune is satisfied to let them cross over, but the ladies on Maiden had their own way of celebrating. And this I strongly suggest is not the right thing to do. And before all you Maiden supporters get into a tizzy with me, this is a joke. As I already said, I am not psychiatrist.
Maiden chose a different option and let’s just wait and see if it’s effective. They were given a tot of rum by one of their supporters, an (elderly?) supporter by the name of Biddy Soward. Now our former President Jimmy Carter just turned 99 yesterday, so I don’t think that Biddy at 90 is old, but then I digress (ADHD). Biddy gave them some rum and instead of drinking it or sloshing it over their heads, they poured it into the ocean as a tribute to Neptune. Now therein lies the difference between men and women. The men, I am quite sure, would have taken the slop over their heads and then drunk the rum…
I think that I am neglecting some boats in the middle of the fleet and I am sorry for that. I see Neptune, a 60 foot aluminium sloop from France, the legendary 60-foot André Mauric design which took part in the second Whitbread in 1977, has been squiggling their way along and recently took a sharp right hand turn to find more wind. It’s all about getting into position to deal with the South Atlantic; and also to keep moving.
A hundred or so miles astern of Neptune is Evrika, a Swan 65 ketch, They are still trucking along at a very decent 6.5 knots in light headwinds. Sterna, well what can I say about Sterna? They are muddling along at 2.3 knots.
Maybe a bit of a hangover after the news that South Africa pretty much demolished Tonga at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday. Apologies to those who posted that I was giving too much ink to rugby rather than sailing… But seriously, this is a fantastic game of chess that all these boats are playing. It’s a game of wind, wind systems and other competitors to manage and that’s why we love this sport. The tricky thing is that the board keeps tilting, unlike a chess board, and so it’s a bit harder to figure it all out.
Oh, and before I forget, October is breast awareness month. RIP Kate.